High-Risk Newborns


High-risk newborns are infants born with health conditions that require additional medical care and observation to ensure optimal health. These babies may have been born prematurely, have a congenital disorder or infection, or have experienced medical difficulties during birth. With the right medical attention and support, these babies can grow up to lead healthy lives. A fertility expert is well-placed to guide the handling of the complexities of high-risk newborn care.

What is a high-risk newborn?

High-risk newborns are babies born with a greater chance of being seriously ill or having disabilities due to various medical, genetic, and environmental factors. These may include prematurity, low birth weight, congenital abnormalities, infections contracted in the womb or at birth, maternal health problems, substance use during pregnancy, and a lack of access to prenatal care. High-risk newborns require specialized medical care and monitoring for their safety and well-being.

What are the different types of high-risk newborns?

There are various types of high-risk newborns. These include preterm babies, those with low birth weight, or those with health issues such as heart defects, chromosomal abnormalities, and infections. Babies born to mothers with substance abuse problems during pregnancy are also at an increased risk of health issues. Additionally, babies born to teenage mothers can be considered at higher risk due to the lack of prenatal care in some cases. Finally, babies of multiple births may be more likely to experience complications than those born singly.

What causes high-risk newborns?

High-risk newborns are caused by various factors, some of which can be controlled and others cannot. These include advanced maternal age, pre-existing health conditions in the mother, such as diabetes or hypertension, smoking during pregnancy, exposure to certain substances or drugs during pregnancy, congenital anomalies, infections during gestation, and multiple births. Furthermore, inadequate prenatal care or a lack of access to healthcare can also increase the chances of a high-risk newborn.

When should one see a doctor for a high-risk newborn?

If a baby is born at less than 37 weeks gestation, if the mother has had a difficult pregnancy or labor, or if the infant develops any medical complications immediately after birth, a doctor should be consulted. A doctor should also be consulted if the baby is born with an abnormality such as a cleft lip or heart defect or does not reach certain developmental milestones in the first year. Any concerns about feeding difficulties, unusual sleep patterns, or a lack of weight gain should also be discussed with a doctor.

What are the treatment options for a high-risk newborn?

High-risk newborns require specialist care to help them thrive and grow. Treatment options include intensive observation, medication, and/or nourishment via tube feeding; surgery or interventional procedures such as ventilation, catheterization, or transfusions; therapeutic interventions including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy; and, lastly, genetic counselling to guide how to manage any potential long-term effects. These treatments may be used singly or in combination, depending on the baby's specific needs.

What are the risk factors for a high-risk newborn?

The main risk factors for a high-risk newborn are prematurity, low birth weight, congenital anomalies, and intrauterine growth restriction. Prematurity is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation. Low birth weight (less than 2500 grams) increases mortality risk or long-term disability. Congenital anomalies refer to physical abnormalities or disabilities that can be present at birth. Intrauterine growth restriction is when the unborn baby does not grow at the expected rate in the uterus.


High-risk newborns are a vulnerable population requiring special care and monitoring in the hospital. High-risk newborn tests aim to identify potential issues or risks for the infant and provide timely interventions to prevent further complications. Using evidence-based strategies, nurses and other healthcare providers can help ensure that high-risk newborns receive the best care for their needs. By taking a proactive approach to health, these infants can have the best chance of developing into healthy and thriving children.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Jayanagar. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How can a high-risk newborn be identified?

High-risk newborns can be identified based on factors such as gestational age, birth weight, presence of congenital anomalies, and Apgar scores.

2. What are the potential complications associated with a high-risk newborn?

Potential complications of a high-risk newborn include respiratory distress, hypoglycemia, infection, jaundice, low birth weight, and prematurity.

3. Are there treatments available for conditions that affect high-risk newborns?

Depending on the condition affecting the high-risk newborn, treatments may include medications, oxygen therapy, nutrition support, or ventilation support.

4. What is the role of family members in caring for a high-risk newborn?

Family members are important in providing emotional and physical support when caring for a high-risk newborn. They should also learn about the baby's medical condition and treatment plan to help ensure proper care.

5. How can long-term health outcomes be improved for a high-risk newborn?

Long-term health outcomes for a high-risk newborn can be improved through early intervention services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Additionally, follow-up care from specialists and regular check-ups should also be provided to help ensure proper development.

Book an Appointment




Pregnancy Calculator